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Questions with Difficult Answers

John 4:27-30
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’ Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could this be the Messiah?’ They came out of the town and made their way towards him. (NIVUK)

Sometimes we do not ask a question because we fear getting an answer we cannot handle.  The disciples were confused enough that their Master had demanded that they walk through religiously tarnished Samaria (John 4:4), and then that they had no option other than to buy food at the local 'unclean' market (John 4:8).  So, when they returned and found Jesus alone with a Samaritan woman, they could not think of any good reason why He was talking with her.  They were out of their depth and kept their questions to themselves.

The disciples had not previously heard Jesus admit to being the Christ (Messiah), nor did they understand His wish to be with a sinful person.  As for the woman, she could hardly believe her ears.  Rushing back to the town (in such a hurry that she forgot to take her water pot), she was amazed that Jesus knew all about her personal history of past relationships.  She was so thrilled about her encounter that she had to tell everyone about the stranger she met at the well.  The way she asked her question (in the Greek text) expected a negative response: "This couldn't be the Messiah, could it?"  The woman was also out of her depth: if Jesus was God's Saviour, then why would He want to talk to her?  Surely the holy One from God would only meet pure bred holy people; and she knew she was not like that at all.

But the result of her excited entry into the town was all part of Jesus’ plan.  The townspeople knew that this woman was disreputable.  But her outspoken invitation to come and meet Jesus because He knew all about her and accepted her, aroused their curiosity.  Something had so radically changed in this woman’s outlook on life that she wondered if Jesus was the Messiah.  The whole town went out to see Jesus.

Jesus continues to be a great surprise to people who think themselves holy, and those who know they are not.  In fact, nobody is truly righteous (Romans 3:10) for everybody is a sinner (Romans 3:23).  As Jesus said in Luke 5:32: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  Jesus continues to call broken sinners.  That is why we will find the Lord working in the darkest corners of the world where, humanly, there is no hope.  We also find Him at work in the cities among the powerful or the violent, and even in the hearts of hypocritical religious people who want to be truly saved.  When it comes to God, everybody is out of their depth ... we cannot understand how God works but we can trust that He knows all about everything ... and that He loves us so much that He wants to find us and save us.  So, when your friends or colleagues despair, feeling trapped with no good way out - tell them about Jesus, who already knows how to deliver them.

All seeing God. Thank You that even when I do not know what questions to ask, You already know the answers. Forgive me for doubting Your love, and Your power to speak into my life and use me for Your glory. Please help me to be bold in recommending Jesus to my friends, and to keep trusting You myself, even though I often do not know how You are working Your purposes out. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams